Sun | Mar 18, 2018

Cops trained in domestic violence intervention

Published:Saturday | December 3, 2016 | 12:00 AM

More than 150 members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) on Thursday received training in domestic violence intervention and conflict resolution.

The training was jointly hosted by the Ministry of National Security and the JCF at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston.

Minister of National Security Robert Montague stated that: "The purpose of this training is to have at least one person in each of the 174 police stations across Jamaica so that there is a point person to interrupt domestic violence incidents that may occur in the community."

In reiterating the importance of the training session, Commissioner of Police Dr Carl Williams said: "Despite efforts of the JCF to stem incidents of domestic violence, it is impossible for the police to always be present before incidents occur, and so these are some contributing factors that occur outside of the control of the police. Nonetheless, I am grateful for this training being provided as we remain committed to the cause and continue to work to keep our communities safe."

The participants were selected largely from the Community Safety and Security Branch of the JCF, headed by Assistant Commissioner of Police Dr Gary Welsh, who was also present at the training session.

The initiative, first tabled by Montague in his budget presentation in May, is a second step in the recent re-establishment of the Parish and District Consultative Committees.

Said Montague: "Oftentimes, domestic violence occurs among individuals who live in the same community, attend the same church and occupy the same space. Therefore, we need to have these committees as resource points where, if the constable is unable to go deal with a matter, he can call on the teacher, the school principal or the pastor in the community to provide a safe space before incidents escalate. I hope that after today, we would have made a giant step in treating with this problem that takes up 37 per cent of our murder figures."

The training, facilitated by Dr Herbert Gayle and Dr Dadria Lewis, allowed members of the JCF to hear testimonials from victims of domestic violence and suggestions on how to better treat with such victims.

There were also presentations from the Ministry of Justice, the Peace Management Initiative, the Violence Prevention Alliance, the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse and the Child Development Agency.

The minister implored JCF members present to actively use the knowledge shared, knowing that they are not alone in the fight against crime.

He encouraged them to download the Stay Alert App and share it with the community as a tool to help prevent domestic violence incidents.

Montague handed out suggestion boxes to representatives of each police station, which members of the public may now use to provide feedback to the Ministry of National Security.